animal rights, animal rights activists, animal welfare, giraffe, April, animal rights activists, PETA
PETA has been slammed by an animal conservation expert who has masterminded a giraffe breeding programme./ Picture source: The New York Times

Giraffe expert hits back at PETA

PETA has been slammed by an animal conservation expert who has masterminded a giraffe breeding programme.

Animal park boss Jordan Patch accused the group of not knowing what it is talking about after it attacked his work.

PETA reacted with fury when Mr Patch announced that April the giraffe, who became a YouTube sensation when she give birth to a calf, has been declared healthy enough for a second pregnancy.

Some 1.2million people had watched April give birth live on YouTube’s “giraffe cam” but PETA claimed it was exploitation.

Mr Patch who runs the Animal Adventure Park in New York, US said he was contributing to the conservation of the giraffe species which was becoming the victim of a “silent extinction”.

He said: “Preservation and conservation are a top priority for the park which has been evident through the entire journey with our giraffes as we have educated the world.

What was dubbed the silent extinction in 2016, is no longer silent in 2017.

“We didn’t ask for viewership, we didn’t promote the giraffe cam, and we certainly didn’t plan on a worldwide phenomenon. However, we received it.

“We used the platform and audience to educate the world on giraffe conservation, dwindling populations, and habitat destruction.

“We’ve been able to donate tens of thousands of dollars to support the conservation efforts in Africa.

“We’ve made a difference, tangible change, with our efforts.”

But PETA have condemned announcement that the 15 year old reticulated giraffe has been cleared by veterinarians for another pregnancy.

They say “fragile, sensitive giraffes” do not belong in captivity and have called on the zoo to end its “shameful” breeding programme.

Activists first objected to the announcement of the plan to record April’s pregnancy on YouTube.

The park had to initially remove the live stream because “extremists” were claiming the scenes contained “nudity” after they started to enthral a huge number of viewers.

Rather than vanishing into the ether, April became an internet sensation, with fans around the world compelled by the daily routines of her 464-day journey to motherhood. When Tajiri the calf arrived, 1.2 million people were watching online.

With Tajiri now standing nearly10ft tall, the park released a picture of the youngster with parents April and mate Oliver and reported: “As you can see, the lovebirds are back at it again!

While April fans celebrated, PETA responded to the announcement, stating: “Fragile, sensitive giraffes don’t belong in captivity or in freezing upstate New York. Animal Adventure Park already wrung every dollar and video hit that it could out of this giraffe’s pregnancy, and now it can’t wait to do so again.

“PETA is calling on this zoo to prioritise animal welfare over fleeting online fame and end its shameful giraffe-breeding programme.”

But Mr Patch said the PETA campaign is a cynical ploy to drum up donations from its supporters and has challenged its employees to donate a portion of their salaries to conservation.

He added: “At the end of the day, we all want what is best for animals.

“While PETA fights the small battles, attacking efforts like ours we are instead taking on the war that is giraffe conservation.”

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